As tough as 2020 was on you, it was that much harder on your kids. Wearing stuffy masks, missing their school friends, and having all their activities cancelled must have turned their lives upside-down. As of January of 2021, 43% of elementary students and 48% of middle school students were still attending school fully remote.
Yes, kids are resilient, but we can’t underestimate just how much this change has affected them, the amount of activity they get, and their ability to interact with their peers. Summer 2021 still looks a bit different, with fewer summer camps and group activities available for kids. How do you plan to keep your kids occupied and smiling this summer? Let’s discuss a few outdoor summer activities that will keep your kids active and creative in your own yard.
Divide your lawn in half using a rope of any kind and play volleyball using a balloon for the ball! The first team or kid to 20 wins the game! Give out prizes like popsicles or the chance to pick out what’s for dinner for the longest balloon air-time, for a little extra excitement.
Backyard Scavenger Hunt
Create an outdoor scavenger hunt to keep your kids occupied and active for hours. Ask them to look for leaves or stones of different colors, sizes or shapes, or find animals, bugs and plants of different types. For even more fun, give your kids an old digital camera and ask them to bring you back proof of their finds!
Set up a tent and go camping in the backyard! Lucky for you, backyard camping means you can set-up early in the day, leaving the kids all day to enjoy a picnic lunch or collect firewood for S’mores or hot dogs. Sleep outside, or come on in at night, for a luxurious shower and a bit of AC.
Backyard Water Fight
Give your propane water heater a break and use the hose to cool down and get clean. Set up a sprinkler and let your kids have a soapy wrestling match in the yard. An old tarp, soap and a hose makes a quick and easy slip-and-slide. Clean-up is as easy as a final spray down before warm towels and lunch.
Did you know there are between 30 and 70 billion trillion stars in the universe? Download a star map app, and learn the constellations with your kids. Consider blowing up an air mattress for more comfortable star-gazing, or bring out drawing materials and ask the kids to draw and label their favourite constellation!
Have a Car Wash
A carwash is always tempting for commuters on their way home from work, but with so many people working remotely, cars are staying more local in the daytime. Have your kids set up a car wash in the front yard or driveway, and watch the neighbours cruise over for a quick wash.
Instead of donating or throwing away old t-shirts, help your kids tye-dye them in the yard! Use a bucket, rubber bands, water and either food coloring or fabric paint to decorate your new t-shirts and leave them in the sun to dry!
Sidewalk chalk is hours of fun. Help your kids draw a bullseye and play frisbee golf, or create your own sidewalk chalk bocce ball game. Frisbee tic-tac-toe is another great game for active kids who need a bit of strategy to keep them engaged.
Water Balloon Dodgeball
Repurpose your balloon volleyball court into a dodgeball court, and fill up those balloons from the hose. Playing dodgeball with water balloons is a great way to stay cool in the summer, and keep your kids laughing and running for hours.
Wet Sponge Tag
Another way to keep cool in the hot summer sun, is to soak normal household sponges in water and play tag. The first to be hit with the soft wet sponge is “it” or “out!” Keep playing until those sponges dry out!
DIY Bird Feeder
Recycle old food containers from around the house to use as bird feeders. Coat your container with peanut butter and birdseed, hang it from a branch, and sit back to watch the bird feeding frenzy. Creating a bird-bingo game will help your kids start to recognize your little guests, and give them a chance to turn their knowledge into prizes.
Water Bottle Bowling
Collect old water or soda bottles and fill them with water. You can even add a little food colouring or pop in a glow stick for fun. Use any ball to take the kids back-yard bowling!
Perfect for yards and patios of any size, grab an old blanket or sheet and help your kid build a shady outdoor fort for a picnic lunch, or afternoon reading and resting. Keep your kids cool, outdoors and occupied for hours!
Using old cups, glasses, or even boxes and buckets for smaller children, set up a mini-golf course in your yard or driveway, using brooms, rakes or even sticks as your clubs, and let the games begin!
With more parents working remotely, it’s been a challenge to keep kids occupied and still put in a productive work day. Add to that the past year of remote schooling and cancelled activities, and parents are probably feeling overwhelmed. Getting your kids outside this summer means more time to focus on work, less mess to clean up, and more exercise for the little ones. Learning to occupy themselves and forcing them to be creative is smart, forward-thinking and will ultimately make them more well-rounded when they do eventually return to normal activities!